22 year old Alice lives with her husband near to Pelewa Town – a rural Maasai community in Kajiado County, Kenya – and their three children.
Throughout her third pregnancy, Alice was supported by health programmes including the Pampers Unicef 1 pack = 1 vaccine campaign which protected her and her unborn baby against maternal and newborn tetanus.
Alice found out about the importance of vaccines and giving birth at the health facility from the community health volunteer in her village. Community health volunteers play an integral role in saving the lives of women and babies by running vaccination campaign awareness programmes and walking door-to-door to advise and remind women that they must be vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn babies from potentially fatal diseases such as maternal and newborn tetanus.
As well as receiving her full course of vaccinations against maternal and newborn tetanus, Alice also gave birth to her third child at the Piliwa health facility with the help of the Nursing Officer in charge, Wilfred Muema. Giving birth in a clean environment with the help of a trained professional means Alice and her baby were significantly/much safer than they would have been at home.
Wilfred Muema has managed the Piliwa health facility since it opened in 2009 and is encouraging women to come and be vaccinated and also to give birth under his care. Thanks to health education programmes supported by the Pampers Unicef 1 pack = vaccine campaign, vaccination rates are high and he is seeing a steady increase in the number of women giving birth at the health facility.
Wilfred explains: “The mothers here like to give birth at home but it’s not safe and it’s not clean so we try to educate them. Some will walk for up to 20 kilometres to reach the health facility and when they give birth here they enjoy it! If they can’t get here in time, they call me and I will rush to them on my motorbike.”
Since 2006, the Pampers Unicef 1 pack = 1 vaccine campaign has helped fund vaccination programmes in countries such as Kenya helping to protect 100 million women and their babies from maternal and newborn tetanus and eliminating the disease in 16 countries. But despite the progress that has been made, more than 85 million women and their newborns around the world are still at risk from contracting the disease because they have not received the vaccines they need to keep themselves safe.